akhilsethi randomnomics blog I-Love-to-Read

Why is reading so important?

Before I start, let me tell you – I’m not into reading books. During my MBA days or even after that, I tried so many times that I read, read and read until it becomes a habit. They say, if you are into reading books, you have good command over English, written as well as verbal which just helps you to make other people understand your thoughts and ideas in a better way. But having said that, till now, I have read only 5 books namely The Alchemist, Five Point SomeoneIt happened in IndiaThe Da Vinci Code and Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. The last one is much on the lines of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Yes, I know these are some of the great books, but I wasn’t able to continue my reading (of books) after that. 🙂

Instead, I make up for this, by reading various articles, blogs, news online which keeps me updated of anything and everything professional as well as non-professional. YES, It’s absolutely imperative to READ to expand knowledge as well as your thought process. Just as other jobs/tasks, reading should also be on your job list everyday. It’s not about reading everything everyday, just reading a fair amount to ensure you are, in corporate lingo, ahead of the curve. By reading, you not only inspire yourself, but others too. And, if you’re a CEO/Head of an organization, think about your employees who are much more informed than their counterparts in other organizations. It will result in a great task-force, isn’t it?

So, coming straight to the point, here’s a list of websites (mostly related to marketing) I usually follow to keep myself updated regularly. Yes, some of the websites’ link were shared earlier with me when I started my professional career and later-on I added more 🙂

International Advertising News:

http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/

www.adage.com

www.campaignasia.com/

http://www.brandrepublic.com/go/global/

http://www.adweek.com/advertising-branding

http://www.inma.org/

http://www.iab.net/

Ad Strategy:

http://bbh-labs.com

http://adverlab.blogspot.com/

Digital Marketing/Advertising:

www.imediaconnection.com

www.clickz.com

www.emarketer.com

www.mediapost.com

www.adage.com/digital

http://allthingsd.com/

http://www.rohitbhargava.com/

http://joannapenabickley.typepad.com/

http://www.twistimage.com/blog

http://blogs.forrester.com/interactive_marketing

http://wallblog.co.uk/

http://pauldunay.com/

www.digitalbuzzblog.com

www.fastcompany.com

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/

http://www.jonloomer.com/

http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/

Social Media Marketing:

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/

https://www.facebook.com/marketingAPAC

http://www.insidefacebook.com/

www.mashable.com

www.socialmediatoday.com

http://www.briansolis.com/

www.socialmediaexaminer.com

Others:

www.harvardbusiness.org

www.sethgodin.com

Creative:

http://creativity-online.com/

http://www.inspiredm.com/

http://www.contagiousmagazine.com/

http://www.informationarchitects.jp/en/

http://www.fastcodesign.com/

Technology:

www.techcrunch.com

http://www.webmonkey.com/

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/

http://drippler.com/ [Download the app too]

Marketing / Business Fun:

http://businessguysonbusinesstrips.com/

http://dilbert.com/blog/

http://tomfishburne.com/

http://jimsmarketingblog.com/

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/

Indian

E4m

Afaqs

Watblog

Medianama

Social Samosa

Adgully

Alootechie

Campaign India

Lighthouse Insights

Digital Vidya

P.S: If you follow me on twitter, you will get to know how much I read. Anyways, do let me know if you find the list useful. And yes, feel free to add more of them in the comments section, I would love to go through them and further add them on this post with a courtesy!

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10 simple yet practical ways to improve yourself

akhil sethi randomnomics blog improve yourself

“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”  ― Madonna

We live in a world which is very fast-paced. At the workplace, we think about how to match client’s deadlines and get the work done quickly and at home, we think about our family / left-over pending work but do we take time out of our busy schedule to think about ourselves? Like … what can we do to improve ourself? How can we change our outlook / mindset towards things & people who can help us better ourself? In this blog-post, I will share few tips / suggestions that will help you to change yourself and become a better person in life:

  1. Be positive, show optimism in each and everything: There are times when things get difficult, so tough that you don’t know how to tackle with them. You start doubting yourself. In such a scenario, just have faith on yourself and be positive that this shall too pass as nothing is constant in this world.  Also look at the other side of it, nothing is better than a positive colleague, friend, relative or spouse. He / she is one of the best things that can happen in your life. So be that kind of person in others lives. You’ll definitely feel that you’re doing something worthwhile in others’ lives and will feel better.
  2. Start taking things a bit lightly: The great American writer Elbert Hubbard once said, “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” The same stands true in every damn situation. Life is too short to take things seriously. Just try not to expect much from others, everybody has their own problems to tackle with. When you start lowering down your expectations from others, you’ll feel that things don’t affect you easily and you now have more control on your mind. If you like this thought, don’t forget to go-through a recent post I wrote earlier on LIFE here.
  3. Make a list of things you LOVE to do: They say an idle mind is like a devil’s workshop which means if you don’t have anything specific to think or work on, you’ll only think destructive. To counter this, try creating a list of things you LOVE. I know you have in your mind what you like & dislike but try to list down things that you love on a paper and have it in front of your study table or place where you usually sit & relax at your home. Having a list in front of you will have a positive impact on your subconscious mind and unknowingly will encourage you to try pick-up these things everyday. And if you don’t have enough hobbies to indulge in, pick up a new hobby like learning yoga, meditation or a new language.
  4. THANK GOD for whatever you have in your LIFE: Believe me, there are people in this world who are less fortunate than you’re currently who don’t even have that so-called access to basic amenities. So, don’t crib / complain about things you don’t have, just think about the people who don’t have and move-on.  If you really want something, try your best, do whatever you can do to achieve that but don’t make that an obsession or an issue which will not only affect you but the ones around you too. While reading this, just close your eyes and pause for a moment to thank god / almighty for whatever you are and have in LIFE like the parents (in-laws), life-partner, son / daughter, siblings, etc. you have who loves you so much
  5. Be calm, cool and collected: If you’re calm, cool and collected, you definitely have control over your mind. You don’t tend to get distracted about things easily and this way you have focus on important things. People with this quality usually are more successful in their personal as well as professional lives as they know where to concentrate and where not to.
  6. Be self-motivated: One of the sad truth about life is that it’s tough! You can’t get things you aspire for very easily. It is you who have to make an effort to strive hard to achieve those things. And, when you do try hard, there are chances that you fail sometimes. The only best thing about failing is that it gives you a chance to make a strong comeback. I know sometimes it’s difficult to bounce back, but my friend, so is LIFE. You need to be strong, self-motivated, should not wait for others’ to pick you up. Just feel this from inside, you’ll see the change!
  7. Manage your EGOFeeling good about oneself and having high esteem are very important to most people but having over-inflated view about one’s strengths can be detrimental. When a person is obsessed about himself, he thinks that he is only person who’s saying / doing it correctly. His approach becomes narrow-minded and he fails to connect with his peers which ultimately leads to failed inter-personal relationships and hence frustration. So, when you’re having a conversation, just be rational, logical in your approach and try to understand others’ point of view.
  8. Move out of your Comfort Zone: I believe that we as Indians are protective in nature than people in the developed world. Be it for our children or our future, we are somewhat averse in taking risks. We usually approach things in a safe manner so that we don’t lose our control mid-way. Maybe because of this, we are less entrepreneurial in nature. To achieve something big, you need to move out of your comfort zone. You need to do something different to achieve something different else it’ll be same all the way!
  9. Use these words more often: From today onwards, use words like ‘Thank you’, ‘Sorry’, ‘It’s ok’, etc. more often and you’ll feel the way how others become more receptive to what you say and what you feel. They would tend to appreciate & would start giving more importance to you!
  10. Help others and forgive people: Lastly try not missing a chance to help others. If you’ll help someone, they will feel good about you and in-return will do whatever you want them to do later. This way you’ll be able to build a good friend circle and have good inter-personal relationships which will make you feel good about yourself. Apart from this, start forgiving people, don’t keep issues to your heart which will later affect your mind. This will only divert your mind to the less-important things in your life. Be focussed, Be calm!!

I’m sure doing these simple things will not only help you improve your personality but will also work wonders for you! If you have any questions, anything you’d like to discuss, don’t hesitate in getting in touch here OR post your point of view in the comments below!

Main Image courtesy: http://goo.gl/vVLz6g

Kasauli (Solan): An Awesome Trip To The Hills

When you work in the media industry where everyday is so damn busy…you try to come early and leave late just because you meet the so-called unrealistic deadlines set by your clients, any kind of vacation or a holiday is like a BLISS. Yes, this was like a much-needed break with my colleagues from the day-today offisial-atyachaar!
Kasauli is a cantonment as well as town, in Solan district in Himachal Pradesh. It is at a distance from 77 kilometres from Shimla, 65 kilometres from Chandigarh, and 300 kilometres from New Delhi which is why it is one of the options for a good summer-break.

Climate-wise, Kasauli has a pleasantly moderate climate. As per Wikipedia, winter temperature is approximately 2 degrees celsius, with summer temperatures rarely exceeding 32 degrees celsius. During the time when I was there, it was around 26 degree celsius (mid-May).

Akhil Sethi Kasauli Trip May 2014Before I go to any trip or a holiday, as an explorer, I try to search for all the information beforehand so that I kind of manage to take the best out of the whole trip. Even for this trip, I tried searching on internet but not much of information was available. I had to go-through many articles to find out what best possible one can do. Hence the purpose of writing this blog-post is also to help those travelers who can get all information Kasauli at one place. So, here’s the information most of the travelers look for:

 

Hotel to consider:

akhil sethi kasauli winnies hotel resort himachal pradeshWe stayed at Winnies Hotel Resort which is not exactly in Kasauli but 6 Km before Kasauli. I must say, the hotel is really good with regards to its room service as well as the food during breakfast, lunch & dinner. However the only not so good thing was the french-fries I ordered at my room during evening time. And so was the feedback of my colleagues too when they ordered something else as evening snacks. Overall it’s a good place to stay however, I did find the per-night room-price bit on a higher side though!

 

Places to visit:

akhil sethi kasauli main marketa) Kasauli main market: Kasauli doesn’t have enough options to roam-around or hang-out with friends. But, if you’re in Kasauli, do visit the main market which is very close to the bus-stand. The market is small but it feels good when you’ve all the time in the world to roam-free. If you’re hungry, just go further where you’ll find Rudra Cafe, an eating joint which is filled with Bob Marley pics and is known for some good chinese food! And, just when you go a bit further (2-3 shops), you’ll find Narinder sweet house, when you can get yummy tasty jalebi.

 

b) Sun-set point & Gilbert Trail: akhil sethi sun-set point kasauli trip gilbert trailSituated around 1 Km up from the bus-stand, sun-set point offers a breath-taking view of the mountains. At this place, you can actually know the distance as well as angle of the nearby locations. Hats-off to its creators.  And, when you move a bit further from the sun-set point, you’ll find a trail leading to another view-point which is known as Gilbert Hill. I’m not sure how many travelers go there as it’s a kind of kacha / risky road of about 600 meters. However the view that you get after the trail finishes is just awesome and all you need to do is to just admire it.

c) Manki point: Earlier I used to think that this is a place where lots of monkeys would be there and hence it’s called the manki point but it’s not like that at all. Situated almost 4 km up to the bus-stand, this is the highest point of Kasauli and has a temple which lies inside the premises of Air-force base hence cameras, mobile-phones aren’t allowed inside the same. Make sure to reach before 4:15 pm as it closes after that and nobody is allowed to enter despite the umpteen no. of requests (yes, that’s from an experience). The view at the top is magnificent and worth-going for any traveler.

My recommendations: Kasauli is a nice quiet place to visit and the trip from Delhi can be completed during the weekend itself. Go for not more than a 2-night stay in Kasauli and if you want to take the most out of your travel here, explore the place by foot and not by car or bus with a good camera in hand. Also don’t forget to try Himachali wines if you love to indulge yourself in good wine-drinking experience.

If you happen to come across this piece and still want any other information on Kasauli, do tweet me here and I will help you!

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Political Party vs Party’s Leader vs Party’s Local Candidate

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Currently we are in the midst of our country’s longest elections to constitute 16th Lok Sabha in India. Hereby sharing few interesting statistics about the same:

  • Roughly more than 800 million people are registered to vote this time which in itself is an increase of more than 100 million since the last elections in 2009
  • First time voters – over 23 million which is quite a good number
  • And, for the first time, voters will have a “None of the Above” (NOTA) option on the ballot papers and electronic voting machines. India is only the 12th country to use NOTA. (*Will you use it? 🙂 *)

The results of the same would be declared on 16th May 2014 but whatever be the results, I’m hoping for a better India. An India which is corruption free, where people respects the women of its country, where leaders focus on the education / literacy of its citizens and strive hard for a better India and its future. This blog-post is not about the party I’m supporting or the party which might come into power in all likelihood nor I’m interested in knowing which party are you supporting rather it’s about finalizing which button to press while casting your vote!

Before the Vote-day, do you think anything about the party or its leader or its local candidate?

Do you think that I will give vote to this party because I believe in party’s ideologies, how it functions / operates and what will it do if it will come into power? I’m sure, people who vote keeping in mind this thing would be like ardent followers and believes that every member of the party will be good for them.

OR

Do you think that I will give vote to this party because of its Leader. I feel people who gave vote to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi state elections recently would surely have given because of Arvind Kejriwal OR people who’re giving vote to BJP this time would definitely want to see Narendra Modi as the prime-minister of India. Do you think one should vote for a particular party only because of his/her belief in the party’s leader? What about the other members? Does it matter if they will do any good to your constituency or not?

OR

Do you think that I will give vote to this party because it’s local candidate has done good work in the past OR you’re hopeful that he/she will do in future?

These are some of the questions that come to my mind when I go to cast my vote. In my opinion, one shouldn’t think about the party he/she is voting rather contemplate about party’s leader and the local candidate because as it all usually comes from top to bottom. A political party also behaves like any organization where the employees’ attitude or outlook towards the work will depend upon his/her leader. If the leader is too active and energetic, there would be higher chances that his/her employees will also be. Hence a good leader and a local candidate can work wonders for that particular constituency!

This is what I believe but I would love to hear about your opinion on the same. Do let me know what comes to your mind while you go to cast your vote!!

#HappyVoting 🙂

Inspirational Quotes about Life

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Image courtesy: http://wide-wallpapers.net/

Do you get inspired by anything? Do you think that a particular thing or a person might change the way you think about your life or basically your attitude towards life? If yes, keep on reading my friend as on the way…you’ll find something that might change something in you! I always believed in the power of words or you can say I ardently believe that “The pen is mightier than the sword”. One can achieve anything or everything, if he/she’s good at using the right words at the right time & with the right person. Following are some of the quotes specifically on LIFE that I really LIKE (yes, my personal favorites :P). And, in my subsequent posts, I’m going to come-up with quotes on attitude, love, leadership, etc. Here they are:

LIFE is all about learning from experiences:

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Yes, LIFE is tough! To be successful, you’ll have to overcome many difficulties, obstacles & hindrances on the way. Not only that, you’ll have to be cool, calm and composed in tough circumstances. There may be situations which would not be according to what you thought or expected but you’ll have to deal with them in a composed manner. Yes, you need to forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you. Life is indeed learning from the experiences. Nothing is perfect in this world. There’s always a scope of improvement in what we do and how we do. So, just move on from what happened in the past and remember the learning on your way to the top!

Stop criticizing others:

Image I’ve seen so many people whether outside or at home like to criticize others. They make fun of how others behave or even react to a particular situation. God (or the almighty) has made all of us different and I think we should respect the same. Yes, there might be a possibility that you can do that particular thing better than the other person, but there may be a thing or two which other person might be able to do it better than you. So, my friend you need to respect the same and instead of just criticizing, help him/her to do it in a better way.

Nobody cares nobody fucking cares:

ImageYes, it’s a kind of sad truth which we certainly have to face in life. Nobody in this world will do it for you. It is you and only you my friend who will have to put your ass on-the-line and do it for yourself. Yes, there might be occasions where a friend might help you but during the whole journey, you should have the balls to keep your head high and reach the end. If you’re serious about something (getting an admission into your favorite college, getting the desired job offer or even the life partner), do not take it lightly else you’ll not get it. To achieve something different, you’ll have to … have to do something different otherwise it will be same all the way! Keep calm!

 

Everything happens for a reason:

ImageYes every god damn thing in this world happens for a reason and for our own GOOD. Believe it and you’ll get to know in the end. Last year, I wrote a blog-post on pushing your limits which explains how Everything happens for GOOD. Do go through the same. Would like to end this post with the one I like the most.

 

Enjoy LIFE, it’s just one:

Image Yes, enjoy LIFE to its fullest. It’s the most beautiful thing given by the almighty. Love others honestly and selflessly, it will definitely help you to manage your expectations from them. And yes, as they say don’t take it too seriously, you’ll never ever get out of the same alive. Have fun and laugh even in the difficult situations, it will help you sail pass through them comfortably!!

 

I know I have missed some of the great quotes on LIFE. But hey, why god or even this WordPress blogging platform has given the comments section below. C’mon, share your best ones OR even a link will do and let’s have some meaningful conversation there. What’s say, buddy? 🙂

How Far Should You Stretch Yourself?

Do you talk to yourself? Do you sometimes ask what do I want from life? What are my short-term and long-term goals? What is the one thing I want to achieve from my life? What’s my passion? How far I can go to achieve one thing that I always wanted?

If not, you better do as it will result in giving you a sense of direction and keeping you focused/motivated till last.

They say that Sky is the limit and you should push yourself to reach the ultimate goal. But should sky be the limit? What do you think? Stop reading further and just close your eyes and ask yourself…should it be?

Hmm …

Guess you’ve figured out by now, it shouldn’t be. Because people have stretched themselves and beyond that sky, they’ve ultimately reached the moon!!! 🙂

Have you ever tried to understand what could be possible reasons of not stretching oneself? It could be:

  • Human nature to resist a change
  • Difficulty in getting out of comfort zone
  • Not enough self-motivation/dedication
  • Too much thinking of what others would say/think
  • Fear of failure/losing
  • Not knowing the inner capabilities/strengths

According to me, to achieve/accomplish anything one needs to do the following:

  • Don’t wait: One should not wait for a gradual change; it should start immediately once you’ve realized the importance of it. Trust me, those who wait, they’re just trying to fool themselves or running from that thing
  • Find ways which can keep you motivated: As written in the book The-Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo, ‘when you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it.’ Believe it this is so damn true!!
  • Do everything you can: Try out each and everything you can do lest you don’t have to regret later
  • Wait till last, things will happen: Don’t lose hope, stay self-motivated. You’ll get what you set out to achieve. It’s just a matter of time. Some people get it early, some people get it later but it’s the journey that matters not the destination
  • Everything happens for GOOD: Believe me, coming from my experience, every damn thing happens for a good, you just realize the same later. The college in which didn’t get admission, the interview that you didn’t clear or the girl/boy that you didn’t end-up marrying all happens for some bloody good reason which you my friend will surely realize later. For more inspiration, read this OR watch recently released Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Without going into that philosophical mode, would like to end this with this amazing video. DO WATCH!

Would love to hear what you think on this!

Dear Vodafone, are you really happy to help? Vodafone Sucks!!

From the past 3-4 months, me & my wife are trying to convert 2 Vodafone mobile numbers from corporate to individual. Since she has left her previous company, it has become increasingly difficult for her just to convert these mobile numbers to individual ones. It started with our first call to Vodafone customer care & a subsequent email to vodafonecare.del@vodafone.com. Check the below screen-shot for reference.

Vodafone telecome mobile Jan 22 complaint

Post that, we received an email from Mr. Mayank Singh, customer care informing us to visit the nearest customer care centre with some documents like id proof, address proof, etc. This email gave us a kind of assurance that after submitting the documents, we might get our number converted to individual & then get this number ported to some other provider. After this, we quickly went to the Rajouri Garden Vodafone customer care centre where we were advised to contact the Vodafone care through email as my wife has changed her company and the corporate account was from the previous company. We came back disappointed and again wrote an email to the suggested email-id vodafonecare.del@vodafone.com. We again got the same response that we need to go to the customer care centre with the all the documents suggested previously. This time, there was a new addition – NOC letter from your organization. This what we got when we clearly informed the customer care that my wife has moved on to some other company.

After  getting the above email, my wife again called the customer care. She had a discussion with Mr. Palvinder on 26th January 2011 at 1.44 p.m, call reference number – 245790383 where she was informed that since Vodafone is always happy to help, she can now send all the documents (scanned copies) via an email and Vodafone will convert the number from corporate to individual. Check the below screen-shot for reference.

 26 january vodafone complaint

My wife was so much frustrated with the whole process of addressing customers’ query that she even wrote an email to customer care for terminating both the number. After that, to add to her frustration, she got an email from Vodafone next day informing about wrong misrepresented information. Check the below screen-shots for reference.

26 january vodafone complaint

27 january vodafone complaint vodafone sucks
We again went to the Rajouri Garden customer care centre. Here we were again advised to send an email to Vodafone customer care centre as their system was not working. Mr. Tony was there to help us, but he was more of a Happy man not to help in this regard. After coming back we again wrote an email to the customer care team, to which they acknowledged, but till date they haven’t sent a reply. Check the below screen-shot for your reference.

Vodafone sucks very disappointed with vodafone

After so much of following up with Vodafone for just converting the numbers from corporate to individual and nothing happened from their side, we have lost almost every hope. My wife said – it’s the worst thing that we did when we took Vodafone as our preferred mobile service provider.

This email is my last request to the whole Vodafone team that if they really believe in the ideology of – Happy to Help, please come forward and do so, else I will spread this and I will not let any of my friends, colleagues or family people to use your services in future all thanks to Mobile Number Portability.

One more request, although I know you guys won’t take it seriously, but please shut down your Rajouri Garden customer care centre, all executives sucks at helping customers or they are just not willing to help, they are just dumb-asses who don’t care anything about customers.

P.S: The opinions expressed in the below blog-post represent my own & my wife.  In addition, my thoughts and opinions change from time to time…I consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind. This may change if Vodafone comes forward and be HAPPY TO HELP!